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Joyce's 5G SALE Act passes House


WASHINGTON – A bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-Blair, that would allow the Federal Communications Commission to finish transferring previously auctioned-off bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to internet providers passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday.


The 5G Spectrum Authority Licensing Enforcement (5G SALE) Act, which was already adopted by the U.S. Senate, now only needs the signature of President Joe Biden, a Democrat, to become law.


It would create a 90-day period during which the transfers could take place.

“What this does is it’s the commitment to expanding connectivity in southwestern Pennsylvania, especially in rural areas. … Coverage can be scarce,” Joyce, whose 13th Congressional District includes Johnstown, said during a telephone interview.


“So Congress has to make sure that workers and students, people who participate with tele-health, patients, farmers who use precision agriculture, which is utilizing broadband as well, (have access). We need to make sure that that’s in place and available so all can benefit.”


Joyce added: “In government, we need to find the ability to cut red tape and to reduce barriers so that we can continue to bridge that digital divide. Bridging that digital divide in rural areas is a primary agenda item of mine.”


“So Congress has to make sure that workers and students, people who participate with tele-health, patients, farmers who use precision agriculture, which is utilizing broadband as well, (have access). We need to make sure that that’s in place and available so all can benefit.”

In 2022, the FCC generated more than $400 million by selling approximately 8,000 licenses in the 2.5-gigahertz band, which provides the only means companies can legally deliver 5G. T-Mobile was the largest purchaser, spending $304 million to acquire more than 7,000 licenses.


But the FCC’s ability to transfer licenses expired in March.


“During the period between when providers paid for these licenses and when the FCC should have parceled the licenses out, there was a lapse in the FCC’s ability to authorize the use of these radio waves,” according to a press release by Joyce’s office.


“Now, despite internet providers having fully purchased the frequencies necessary to deliver 5G internet, the FCC has stated they are unable to issue these licenses.”


The matter was discussed during a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing in June when FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, “We are right now tying ourselves in knots trying to figure out how to get these licenses out, and the precedent we have here is complicated because issuing these licenses now could violate the Anti-Deficiency Act, which is a criminal statute,” according to a report at rollcall.com

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